Testing Methodology

For testing full ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 4.3GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H
Graphics Card ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP
(tested at stock speed and overclocked to 1GHz/overvolted to 1.13V)

2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 in SLI
(full fat testing only)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD

Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive

3x HGST DeskStar 3TB 7200-RPM HDD
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 1000W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested in a stock configuration and an overclocked configuration that generates substantially more heat (and thus may produce more noise). The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running seven threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU and OC Scanner (maximum load) on the GPU. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. This is done for the stock settings and for the overclock, and if the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

For the "full fat" testbed, the GTX 560 Ti is swapped out for a pair of GTX 580s, and three hard disks are added to fill out the case.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Assembling the NZXT H630 Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • zero2dash - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    This case won me on looks but the thermal/noise results leave a little to be desired. It definitely has a very nice feature set though, with the included SD card reader and the fan distribution block on the back side of the motherboard tray.
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I would say that it needs more fans running slower. As a reviewer you have a big problem with a case like this. Do you review it with just the fans installed? Seems like they mean for you to install more fans. Do you install both an air cooler and an AIO cooler? If so which coolers do you pick? The best value, the best performance? Over all it is a difficult taks because if the reviewer loads it up with good fans and AIO coolers it will perform better than out of the box but what about the guy that buys it and just wants to stick a board in it. I bet this case with the right fans and coolers will work very well. But then that is probably true of most cases.
  • BlueReason - Saturday, May 18, 2013 - link

    Unless you plan on installing the exact same build and don't plan on utilizing any of the fan placement options, the thermal/noise measurements are about as meaningful as Dustin measuring how well the case matched his office furniture.
  • mr_tawan - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I'd prefer the control panel (power switch, reset, usb, card reader, etc...) to be on the top instead of on the right side. Still better than the one I'm using (CM Centurion 5, which the power button is just a little bit above the ground. It's not a silent case btw.).
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Are any of the fans filtered?
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I asked this question to a NZXT rep on techPowerUp and was advised that, yes, the fan intakes are filtered.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    If you look at the page2 gallery you can see the mesh filters on the bottom intake fans.
  • jagerman - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I bought a NZXT H2 case a couple of years ago, which I suppose is the (a?) predecessor to this case, being designed for quiet operation. I must say, it disappointed me enormously.

    For starters, the case was significantly starved for air, but I knew that already, and wasn't putting a particularly hot system inside, so I was okay with that. Judging from the article, NZXT didn't learn anything: this system seems to follow in those footsteps: it's louder and hotter than the competition for even a medium powered system.

    A bigger problem with the H2, and carried through to this system, was that the drive cages were miserably painful to use: hard to get drives in and hard to get drives out of, with sharp metal edges on the drive plugs that seemed to have a tendency to cut under your fingernails. On top of that they're flimsy, as noted in the article. Furthermore they are unidirectional: unlike drive rails on most other cases in this category, you can't choose which way you want your drive cables to run. Apparently, those shitty drive rails are still here, and it's as good a reason as any to avoid the case.

    The other big problem with the H2 didn't appear until a year or so later, when I swapped out my hardware between cases: all of the rubber parts (on the drive trays, and around the holes on the motherboard) had deteriorated to feel chalky rather than soft, and left disgusting black smudges on anything that even brushed them lightly: skin, cables, screwdrivers, whatever. The cables running through the rubberized cut-outs were permanently stained dark black at the point they went through. My hands, after swapping the system out, looked like I had been playing in soot for an hour, and needed a thorough scrubbing afterwords (the black crap did not come off easily).

    From that experience, I'll never buy another NZXT case: they seem designed for very short term use, perhaps engineered to last long enough to make reviewers happy, but are using cheap, substandard parts that they don't seem to care about changing. There are other people in the quiet case market doing a much better job on all of quality, noise, and price; NZXT failed with the H2, and judging from the results and the lack of fixes from the H2's design flaws, that they've failed again with the H630.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    There's been a major sea change in the way cases are being designed at NZXT since the H2. If the H630 appeals to you I'd recommend it. It's far superior to the H2.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Fractal remains King of Mid-Tower. (My title for this piece)

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